All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
They would visit every day. On the way to school and on the way home. On the weekends and on the holidays. Grownups in the neighborhood thought them peculiar. Thought that they should run around in games of tag, hide and seek or sardines, like everyone else.
They didn’t care though. They still visited every day.
It was a lone structure in the middle of the field. Coarse grass sitting on a lake of mud. Not even the bugs that teemed so in other fields found their way into this one. It was fenced in, for the owner had wanted it to be so, but he was long gone. He’d been gone for years, and his little shack slowly falling apart, board by board, until grownups had unlocked the fence and carted them off. “For recycling purposes.”
But they entered a different way. Over the fence, dropped on their hands and knees, now covered with mud, and the race to the tree, the tree they came to see every day.
It was a funny tree. It never bloomed into flowers, pink, orange, purple or even white, come Spring. Its leaves were not green like other trees, nor were they shaped like any other leaves they had seen. The odd leaves gave off tints seemingly of gray, but being children, attempts at closer inspection were fruitless, even when they were on their toes. They would shake the tree or wait for the leaves to dance to the ground as leaves do, and they went every day. They waited every day. Not one day did one leaf fall.
It was odd, of course, and perhaps what lured them to the field every day. To school, from school, weekends and holidays. Or maybe it was the field, the grass so coarse that it crackled under their feet. The mud, in its turn, so soft it sank under each step. At home every night, the mothers would all groan in exasperation at their shoes, caked with mud and sprinkled with grass.
There were mud fights and mud pies, but the tree always remained the center of attention. Sometimes the convergence post, sometimes the pie shop. Also the safety zone and a landmark for the mud bombs the boys always horded. The children never left the tree and the field of which it was king until their parents, their teachers, the grownups called.
The tree was curious and there wasn’t a day that passed when someone or another made it their day’s quest to unveil its secrets. All of them that visited the tree and its field knew that the tree kept a secret close to its core and its age lines, kept from the rest of the world. Some did not care to find out. Others would devote as long as a week to the secret, always giving up empty handed.
Not until one of the boys amongst the oldest of the little group was struck with the solution. He told the group, captivated by his assured stature, that the tree was tall and grand and wide, its bottom branches bare. If one could climb the fence to the field, one could scale the tree. He was determined that he would reach the top, see the leaves, and find out the secret, once and for all.
And find out he did. With a few close shaves, all the children holding their breaths, gasping at the right moments, he reached the top of the tree.
It was a money tree.
The leaves were not leaves, but money.
Tens and thousands. Bills, crisp and genuine.
What was to happen then? The children could visit the field no longer, for the grownups would visit the field not only before school, after school, on weekends and holidays, but every day. The children were kept home alone, for their parents would be at the field themselves, shouting for the money, the money their children had helped discovered, the money they felt they had each and every right to.
The grass was still coarse and the mud was still gooey, the tree still old and the lower branches bare, but the children visited no more. It was no longer their field. With the discovery of the secret, with the money, it was no longer their jurisdiction.
Within a week, the tree was stripped bare. The odd leaves that had not been leaves and had never danced through the air as leaves do were no longer on the tree but in safes, in bank accounts, locked in drawers.
The grownups would visit every day now. They would keep the children out. They would try to grow more leaves. But the tree, its secret discovered, its friends kept away, stayed bare. No longer the lone structure and king of the field, there was the ladder, even longer, that took the spotlight, leaving the tree in the limelight.